I can not thing of a single parent that can say that they have never had any problems with schools or other organizations with their spectrum babies. I could spend the rest of my life retelling horror stories and historical dramas. Maybe you have already had few?
To be clear, the “organization” is just a group of people and usually it comes down to individuals that we run into conflict with. If you have accepted your role as your child’s watch dog and loyal friend then you will probably feel the hair on your neck raise, you may clench your teeth, your blood pressure will increase and you may go all predator when you feel you must fight. I have seen some very kind and loving moms turn into werewolves in less than a second!
It comes down to choices that people make. Here are a few categories I have created over time.
Ignorant-Some people just don’t know what to do. This type can be dealt with easily if they are willing to learn. It is easy to forgive because none of us knows everything. The person that honestly says”I don’t know but I will find out.” is not really a problem. We all learn together and this can actually be a catalyst for something even better to transpire that will be a positive change for everyone.
Incompetent– This group bothers me a lot. These folks go along in a job that they may really think that they DO know what they are doing and are not trying to improve. They will hold fast to their ideas and will turn things around to be that you or your child is the problem. Sorry but it doesn’t work that way! Just because a certain strategy has worked with other children does not mean that it works with certain individuals. That is why the “I” is in an IEP. This type will find allies to defend themselves and will go to great lengths to maintain their stance. Sadly, they are often in positions that do the most damage as a teacher, counselor, administrator or even a physician. Their egos get in the way and your job gets more difficult. We always have a choice. Some of these folks will actually modify their beliefs given enough pressure or when they see results. I have witnessed a few that actually changed but they sure made our lives difficult for a long time!
Insolent-This type really pushes my buttons. Rude and disrespectful behaviors are the most challenging for me personally. As a teacher, I only knew how I treated my parents and it was very important to me to understand them and help in any way. Parents are the first and most important teachers after all. I always felt that I was a temporary substitute and that my job was to be of service as best as I could do. I am sure that I did not always do such a great job but I did try. When the tables were turned and I sat on the side as the parent of a child having difficulties , I met up with some pretty arrogant and insulting characters! Examples include the neurologist that told me my son was brain damaged by just looking at his facial expression, the counselor that told me my son’s teacher was “good with those types of kids because she has a mentally retarded nephew”, the high school licensed psychologist that told us there were not accommodations allowed on state testing and that we had no business asking, etc…. I bet you have a few examples as well.
I am still having some personal growth needed in this department. Forget Ms Werewolf, I start to turn into Reptilian Woman with poisonous fangs when I encounter people – especially in positions of power , that are insulting and presumptuous. I have tried to be loving, kind and respectful back to these individuals and usually I just get run over more. However, when my ferocity escapes they often back down at least in the moment. This is not good for anyone. In fact, I am going to meet up with one in a couple of hours.(Pray for me , please!)
My Plan: EMU
The first step is to empower yourself. Thank the Lord for the internet! In just seconds you can pull up your state’s department of education, Wrightslaw.com, and many other resources. Be careful to look for legitimate sites. Sort through and find what you need. Education is empowering for you and to share with others. Learn from the situation as much as you can and be ready to try some things. This gets you closer to the answer anyway. Be proactive.
Get this information organized and put into a doable plan. It is no good without being able to put it into action. This could mean a power point presentation you give to the IEP committee (yes, I did!), making copies of pertinent information, emailing links to others, etc. Try not to overload them but make your point easy to understand and easy for you to communicate. Having a plan of what you want is important too.
To understand something is “to perceive the intended meaning, to be sympathetically aware of the nature , to view in a particular way, infer something from information , or to assume to be the case” according to the dictionary.
I sort of thought “understand”to mean that someone else totally gets what is in my head and agrees with it. Hmm…I guess this is impossible. By definition, “understanding” does not mean knowing the absolute truth either. It is a viewpoint. Under-stand…..stand-under??
Maybe we are all standing under our little umbrellas of knowledge, experience, and feelings. If we could huddle close and share, we could better protect our children from some of the storms in life. Maybe we could get so good at it that our umbrellas all join together and there would be no need of protection. Why can’t we???
Goodness gracious!!!! I almost forgot the most beautiful type of persons we meet- they are the helpers. These angels in earth bodies help our children, they help us , they help everyone because they care. Sometimes we don’t recognize them. Sometimes we never see what they have done. You feel them. Your child knows them. They include the lunch lady that saves your child their favorite snack, the neighbor that doesn’t call the police when they see smoke at your house, the friend that picks your other kids up when you are too tired to move, the waiter that doesn’t question your child’s eating preferences but just refills the bread with a smile, the teacher that secretly prays for you, and the grandparent that cries when they don’t know what else to do. Whatever you do, PLEASE align yourself with this type as much as you can. They know the answer is bigger than any of us. It is all of us.
I asked spirit this morning why autism can be so challenging. Here is what I got:
It is not as it seems.
There are many reasons-
to grow and learn, to move into a more awakened thought system, to give Love and
release fears, and to accept Love and Unify.